On Monday, a post on Chinese microblogging site Weibo by Mr. Kevin Wang, Director of Research, IHT Technology China, claimed that Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi will start designing its own chips for its entry-level Redmi-branded smartphones. If all goes according to plan, Mr Wang says, Xiaomi’s next generation Redmi smartphones will feature chips designed and developed in-house by the company. The current generation Redmi 2 is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 410 SoC, while the most affordable smartphone to have ever come out of the Xiaomi stable, the 499 Yuan ($80) Redmi 2A features Leadcore’s LC1860 chip. Mr. Wang further claims that the chips being developed currently by Xiaomi are faster than the Leadcore chip found in the Redmi 2A, which is certainly good news for Xiaomi and its customers.
Xiaomi as a company has gone from strength to strength in the last five years since its inception. Not only is it competing with Apple for the title of the single largest smartphone vendor in the country, it is also marching on in its endeavor to bring complete smart-home solutions for its customers. Towards that end, the company has recently released a number of smart products, which include smart air-conditioners with Chinese appliance maker Midea, a smart router with a 6 TB hard disk, a smart bedside lamp named Yeelight that can be controlled with smartphone apps and also with hand gestures, along with a number of other products at fairly attractive prices.
However, the company’s bread and butter remains the smartphone business, and looks like the company wants to give a lift to its infamously razor-thin hardware margins, by going the way of fellow smartphone manufacturers Samsung, Huawei and Apple in designing its own processing chips. Rumors have swirled around over the past few months about Xiaomi looking to develop its own processors, and last month, the Chinese media was abuzz with reports that the company has even tied up with Leadcore, a Chinese semiconductor chipmaker, whose LC1860 SoC powers the company’s most affordable smartphone yet – the Redmi 2A. The phone was originally introduced with a price-tag of 599 Yuan ($100), but the price was recently revised to just 499 Yuan ($80), making it one of the best value-for-money smartphones available in the market today.